We have a thing we do in our family, a thing we name: Perfect. Moment. The way it works is that we’re going along, and then all of a sudden, there’s a crystallization of time, of sweetness, and we call it out: “Perfect. Moment.” That moment can be 30 seconds or a whole day, the briefest wisp or a solid chunk, and there’s usually some sort of contrast in place that reveals the perfection. As one example:
Back in the day, you think you’re going to be great parents and take your three tweenish boys fishing on an April Saturday in Texas, imagining your hunted and gathered meal, so elemental, so not-from-the-grocery store. You head to a place you’ve “researched” that’s a supposed fishing hole, and you find out that only a sliver of the riverbank is outside of the barbed-wire barrier of private property. Still, you cast in, untangling lines, avoiding each other’s eyes and hair with the hooks. Something snags, and there’s excitement, and reeling in—and it’s branches. Over and over, everyone gathers various forms of flood debris. Your husband says y’all are catching fish sticks. Then a cold front blows in and the temperature drops by 30 degrees in 20 minutes and there are snow flurries, and all you are wearing is Texan spring clothing; that is, long-sleeved tee shirts, shorts, water shoes (because of fishing, in the river). You’re back in the car for shelter with a few saves of the most interesting driftwood, no fish anywhere—complete fishing failure—and you start on the long drive home (because everywhere is a long drive from the middle of central Texas), and all five of you decide to catch snowflakes from the open windows, and you turn up the song you’re playing so you can hear it against the wind. And then you realize: Perfect. Moment.